Let’s start with the fact that I’m not a “holiday” guy. Between the funeral home and fire department, I had very few holidays off. I have also been told that I have been a grumpy, old man, even when I was younger. Juggling work, preparations, travel, guests and festivities take me out of my routine and I guess I’m a prisoner of my routines.
I have more memories of Thanksgiving when I was a young boy that I do as an adult and I hope those around me these days do not take offense.
That being said, yesterday was a Thanksgiving I will always remember. It was the first holiday we celebrated since my dad died and we brought mom down to SC to be with us for the week. We had all three daughters, one son in law, one soon to be son in law, two extra dogs and then, (drum roll please) Adeline Louise. . . our first grandchild and my mother’s first great-grandchild.
Four generations together for the first time. On top of that, yesterday, during Thanksgiving Mass, Adeline, (4 months old today,) was baptized into the Church.
I am smitten with Adeline and some have even gone so far as to say obsessed. So be it.
Yesterday, we all met in Columbia, SC at The Church of the Good Shepherd. The pastor of that church, Rev. Dr. James Fraser Lyon, IV, his family and ours have been connected in a plethora of ways for over 23 years, including our son in law being baptized by Fr. Lyon at this church. Any ceremony is always more significant when there are personal connections.
This was profoundly connected.
During the Christening segment of the Mass, we read the Baptismal Covenant which caught me off guard and it’s beauty brought tears to my eyes. I had never heard it before and I think that if I was inclined to have tattoos, my first one might be the response to the last five questions.
The first four questions are patterned on the Apostle’s Creed, with the liturgy celebrant asking the people about their beliefs in each of the members of the Trinity, along with a concise understanding of their natures. Following these questions, the covenant includes five questions regarding how we, as Christians, are called to live out our faith: with firm commitment and a reliance on God’s help.
The response to the last, five questions is,
“I will, with God’s help”
I was reminded that without God, we are rudderless ships all the while fooled into thinking we are on a true course.
A few weeks ago, a friend described being a grandparent as “Everything, and more” and I agreed. Going forward, I will now include the simple phrase, “I will, with God’s Help” to be in the same category.
I will never forget this day.
Lord, I believe; help my unbelief (Mk 9:23)